It is no secret that the winter months bring with them a whole host of challenges for the National Health Service (NHS), particularly in caring for the elderly.
These winter pressures see a spike in health-related issues, leading to increased demands on NHS resources.
Escalating health challenges during winter
As the climate begins to cool during the winter months, many types of illnesses and other health hazards increase rapidly. These include:
- Respiratory illnesses and flu – The cold months witness a significant rise in respiratory conditions and flu cases, especially impacting the elderly and those with pre-existing health conditions. This leads to a notable increase in hospital admissions.
- Higher occurrence of slips and falls – Icy conditions contribute to more falls among the elderly, resulting in injuries that require medical attention.
- Seasonal affective disorders – The shorter daylight hours of winter can lead to an increase in mental health issues, including depression and anxiety, therefore requiring additional NHS services.
Staffing and infrastructure strains on the NHS
Winter pressures don’t just affect the elderly. Problems during this time of year can impact those within the NHS itself. These can include:
- Illness among staff – Winter sees a rise in illnesses among hospital staff, leading to increased sick leave and staff shortages.
- Holiday season staffing challenges – The festive period further strains resources due to higher leave requests among staff.
- Bed shortages and delays – The influx of patients often leads to bed shortages and treatment delays. In November, 30 per cent of patients experienced waiting times in A&E for longer than the target time of four hours.
- Emergency services under pressure – Over 80 per cent of people waited over 30 minutes for an ambulance. This, coupled with outpatient and elective care delays, impacts patient care quality.
Nexus Care Services steps in to provide essential support, complementing the efforts of the NHS during these challenging times. Our approach includes:
- Personalised care plans – Adapting to the changing needs of clients, we can help prevent unnecessary hospital admissions and readmissions.
- Rapid response and assessments – We can assess clients within 48 hours and organise care within a week, reducing the strain on hospitals.
- Wide-ranging care services – Offering respite care, sleep-in services, and waking night services, we ease the burden on families and positively impact the mental health of clients.
We recognise the issues of overcrowding in wards and extended waiting times in A&E departments, especially during the winter months.
In response, we provide extra support through specialised care services and rapid care assessments, aiming to lighten the pressure on the NHS.
If you would like to know more about our speed of assessments or anything else about how we help in the battle against winter pressures, please contact us today.